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Musami's eyes look grim as he nods at Zokama and tightens his backpack more securely to his back.
Kaaro eyes the new-slain creature with barely disguised horror, her eyes goggling, made more explicit by the obfuscation of her other features.
"I...have dispatched many of the undead...but this infestation of fungus has me somewhat...scared. Let us not tarry here..."
After clearing away the passage so that it is mold-free, Zokama starts down, stopping to clear more as needed on the way.
Clearing fungii, climbing down a few rungs, bit by bit, Zokama leads the others down the narrow shaft, after nearly a half hour reaching the bottom and finding herself in an antechamber to the ghouls' nest encountered previously. The crypts, biers, and alcoves are thickly plastered with various examples of the mold and slimes you encountered above, only with a few additional mounds which appear to be what remains of the ghoul priest's minions, overcome and nearly consumed by the strange infestation.
Only one small area of the room is free of the fungii, a nearly four foot wide patch wherein sits the ghoul priest, intently intoning a prayer to his dark god. The molds have built up around this patch, rising in a berm a few inches above the fungiform carpeting which now blankets the room.
The ghoul does not seem to notice you, intent as it is in chanting to itself in low and discordant tones.
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Musami quirks an eyebrow at Braggi and takes his earthbreaker from his back. He moves toward the ghoul priest, hammer ready. My intent here is to swing and end this ghoul quickly.
Earthbreaker, Power Attack: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17 Damage: 2d6 + 6 + 4 ⇒ (4, 4) + 6 + 4 = 18
Musami's heavy mallet slams the focused ghoul hard upon his left shoulder, breaking the thing's concentration and knocking it backward, both the dwarf and the ghoul breaking the protective circle which had been erected in a ring around the unholy man's prayer rug.
The room suddenly erupts into a whirlwind of spores and molds as the magic holding back the onslaught is shattered. The ghoul is suddenly engulfed in a thick greenish black mass of miasmic energy and slime, the form rising up from floor to ceiling, twisting and shuffling as long angular branches of stiff and wooden fibers rip at his form, a strange high pitched laugh echoing throughout the room.
Each of you must make two DC 24 Fort Saves, one DC 24 Dex Save, and one DC 24 Will Save, in that order. No other actions may be taken at this time.
Filnefillan Save 1: 1d20 ⇒ 16
Filnefillan Save 2: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Filnefillan Save 3: 1d20 ⇒ 20
Filnefillan Save 4: 1d20 ⇒ 3
Filnefillan drops to the ground, choking and gagging as the spores burn his eyes and fill his lungs. A rough and strangled scream erupts from his dry and raspy throat, his hands clawing at his robes, exposing his chest and gouging at the long purplish scar from his prior exposure to slimes once found above in the gaol area.
Oh dear. Sorry everyone.
Fort: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Fort: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
I cannot make the reflex or fort save so not rolling. Looks liek I can't make any of the saves.
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You might get natural 20's Musami, so please roll for the Reflex and Will Saves. Further the effects are mitigated by level of success or failure, so the results are important.
And don't fret too much, these rolls are more story line events rather than simple disease, damage, and madness checks...
Knocking at the door. Outside stands a 3' tall toadstool in a loose white tunic, black trousers, a small green hymnal perched atop it's cap. Might I interest you in hearing the great and terrible news of our mistress of fungi and protoplasm, the fearsome She-Demon Zuggtmoy?
I can't make the saves either, but rolling anyway, as you suggested to Musami.
Fort Save: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Fort Save: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Dex Save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Will Save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Fort, DC 24: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Fort, DC 24: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Dex, DC 24: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Will, DC 24: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
When he realises what Musami is about to do, Braggi tried, in his mind, to stop him. However, the connection between mind and brain is not fast enough, and all an observer would have seen is the sudden realisation of fear on his face.
Fort: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Fort: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Ref: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Will: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Turn off the lights, the party's over...
Rolling Dex and Will for Musami, since everyone else has posted.
Reflex: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Will: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
The winds crescendo into a hurricane gale even as small whirling dust devils pull away from the strange mass and whoosh off down a side passageway. The walls and crypts along the hallway shatter, break and rupture caused by small figures of earth and stone forming and crawling out of the hidden earth beyond. The fungal manifestation takes a semi-solid form as it stomps and rips at the ghoul priest, twisting his arms, crushing his legs, pulling apart his ribs in grotesque and disturbing angles.
The hard winds knock everyone prone to the ground with such force that you each take Subdual Damage: 6d6 ⇒ (4, 5, 1, 5, 6, 3) = 24 from the harsh beating.
You find yourselves passing out as a strange Vision flashes through your mind, a mocking and hideous laugh reverberating behind the illusory facade. Try as you might you cannot resist the forced memory, nor the feeling that it is something more than that, and something fearsome stirs in the beyond because of it.
You are not sure how long you are unconscious but when you come back to your senses you find yourselves laying on the floor, the undead priest laying nearby. The shattered room is covered in broken rocks, chunks of destroyed funerary decor, heaps of dust, scattered plant parts, and a disturbing amount of mold, fungus, and pollen, both on the ground, in the air, and covering yourselves.
Zokama feels almost dead, but her first thought upon discovering that she is not is to get rid of the mold. She casts prestidigitation shakily, trying to clear an area around her and get it away from her, disgusted by the thought of continuing to lie in that aberrant filth.
Once she is clean, her head is clear enough to think about healing, and she stands and brings out the wand she is carrying, offering healing to whoever wants it.
Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
Anything still on the priest's body, since it still seems to be here?
She ponders the vision that she saw, wondering what it means. Are they in the middle of a war of evil versus evil, or is there a chance to do anything about it? She has to hope for the latter.
Musami awakes from his forced unconsciousness. With no view of the sky he has no way of gauging how much time has passed. Sorry everyone. I did not expect that.
He stands and brushes himself off. If anyone is still on the ground he reaches a hand down to help them up.
As Zokama moves to inspect the ghoul it weakly coughs and hacks, trying to raise itself up on one still working elbow. Ye..ye.. you fools. I was trying to keep her contained. The stones, some... some.. hack, spit, heave Someone must have shattered one of the icons holding a third tier power stone.. the.. the.. they must be preserved before they collect them all. If not.. heave, cough, cough, spasm, shudder, decay she will be free and my lord's power perverted by the putrid crone, the wastrel bastard, and that black bellied beeyotch.
The ghoul priest is rapidly decaying, it has maybe a round, two tops, before it is completely consumed by the strange rot, this instance glowing in a green light similar to what you experienced in your vision. With the mold crusting over his form, it is difficult to see what will survive and what will waste away with him.
Zokama clears mold off the ghoul (with prestidigitation, not physical touch), hoping to let him share information before his death, questionable as the source might be.
Where are the icons?
Not really trying to bluff here, though I can roll it if you like. I really don't know if we will help him or not, but it seems like getting the information so that we can make that choice is wise either way. I don't know if his master is any better than the others he mentioned, and I actually wish I had an ocean of holy water to cleanse this place with, but you know... get the information and do whatever we can about it.
What would I roll to know who his lord is and the other three he mentioned? I am going to try knowledge religion, but if it is something else, let me know.
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
After the ghoul is dead, Zokama shares the information that she gleaned from the vision (feel free to read my spoiler above).
Luck Roll: 1d100 ⇒ 63
Zokama is unsure who the ghoul's Dark Lord is exactly, thus far nothing has been definitively mentioned to give a decent clue for conjecture. The "putrid crone" if the same withered hag from the vision, is likely the demoness Zuggtmoy, though you know little about her beyond she was one of the powers rumored to inhabit the old temple from which the forces of evil waged war on Emridy Meadows.
The ghoul coughs and sputters, his arm collapsing and his jaw dissolving into pus midway through his wet, phlegmy explanation. The only thing you can make out is there were several icons crafted after the temple fell, hiding mystical gemstones which anchored the demoness' power to Oerth and allowed her to extend her will for leagues around. The dampening icons took the form of her incarnations, toadstools, fungi, or humanoid hybrids made in a special clay which would retard her powers and influence, so long as the pieces were unharmed and intact. Such stones if freed would bolster her strength and allow her momentary bouts of lucidity, to wreak havoc on the world or punish those who earned her ire. The strongest of the three gem types would also act as beacons to the lesser stones, lodestones as it were to return all the 333 stones to her hidden throne.
The wastrel bastard and black bellied beeyotch are unknown to you, the epithets not in common use, at least in your experience. Nothing from the vision would suggest their identities either, at least not from what you can recall.
Once dead the only thing of value found on the ghoul is a suit of masterwork scale mail, a frayed gray cloak, and two small potion vials.
Braggi finally dares to move, and he goes to face the ghoul. "What was that? Who was this creature? What happened to us? What will happen now?" Seeing no way of helping it, Braggi just stands there, awaiting replies.
"Zootmoee? What about that? And what should we do with the remaining relics? S&$@, there's too much going on here!" Braggi notices the rest of his friends are still unmoving, so he also asks about them. "Are they dead?"
Zokama casts Detect Magic on the armor, cloak, and vials.
The cloak and vials are magical, the armor is not.
The remaining dust and pollen still bears a faint trace of magical energy, but it is fading fast. The effects of the mold also seem to be weakening.
There are a few magical hot spots where the elemental creatures appeared and departed, those too fading into nothingness.
I saw something strange while I was blacked out.
Zokama recounts what she saw as well. She mentions that she recognized Prince Thrommel the IV, missing heir of Furyondy in the vision, and that one of the three priests that went to the aid of the demoness moments before she was imprisoned by the collected mages was the bugbear zombie they had already seen, though in the vision it was still very much alive.
What do you guys think it means?
Spellcraft (cloak): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28
Spellcraft (vial 1): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
Spellcraft (vial 2): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
That's if the vials are different. Just discount the last roll if they are the same and I only get one roll to identify them.
Kaaro dreams a dark dream of war and dark powers. When she wakes she is still in the chamber with her friends. She wriggles reflexively, afraid that the fungal infestation might have grown over her. Fortunately it seems she is not yet the correct medium.
”So that was Emridy. A fierce battle it would seem. And this Zuggtmoy was a demoness of some power?”
Filnefillan Knowledge Check Zuggtmoy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
As the Demon Queen of Fungi, Zuggtmoy has presented herself as a huge puffball fungus on top of four elephantine legs. A mushroom and fibrous-shaped head with squashed and vague humanoid-like features resided atop her body. She can extrude numerous pseudopodia from her body to harass opponents. Zuggtmoy can also appear as a feeble humanoid crone, a tree-like humanoid with a variety of plant based features, or as a ravishingly-beautiful human woman of dark hair and complexion.
Zuggtmoy was an ally of Iggwilv and Iuz and had been romantically linked to the latter. She was forced to share Shedaklah, a layer of the Abyss, with the demon lord Juiblex, who she constantly warred with over control over the entire layer. Her two chief allies before her imprisonment were the demon lord Haagenti, Lord of Alchemy, and the demon lord Demogorgon, with whom she once collaborated.
During the War of Elemental Evil Zuggtmoy was revealed to be a competitor and enemy of the Demon Queen of Spiders Lolth. Zuggtmoy and her lover Iuz built the Temple of Elemental Evil as a means of drawing power from the elements. The combined forces of good in Veluna, Furyondy, and Verboboc launched a campaign against her, ultimately trapping her within the fallen temple's confines.
Zokama listens to what Fil has to say and then comments
Err... so they trapped her here? Sounds scary. We couldn't like ... accidentally release her, could we? Or maybe she is already released and that is the evil influence in the village and the swamp already? I don't suppose these "combined forces of good" left notes on how to actually destroy her, or if it was possible?
Updated loot sheet if anyone wants one of the new items, or to try identifying things that haven't been identified yet.
Filnefillan comments that Zuggtmoy was supposedly trapped somewhere below the Temple of Elemental Evil and her followers have been seeking various means of releasing her ever since.
She was imprisoned by the Circle of Eight, a powerful enclave of wizards, but they have disbanded after one of their number turned to evil and unleashed many nefarious plots and entities back into the world.
He does note it is curious the last stone found was in some kind of fungi shaped icon, and that being damaged it was slowly subverting and infecting the spiders of the grove. So perhaps yes, if not careful, we might release her or something worse if we act without consideration.
So, we're trapped between fighting evil and releasing extra evil, and we don't know where the border is? This is not really good position to be in. Guess we'd better be super careful. Although, not sure what to avoid. Hopefully we'll realize if we are about to unleash something evil on the world.
From this chamber you have three directions of egress: 1) a narrow dirt tunnel roughly carved heading west into the earth, from which the elementals removed certain religious icons. 2) the passage which you entered this area from previously, when you first met the now slaughtered and mold feeding ghouls. 3) the ladder back up to the torture chamber.
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Do we go west? Musami takes a step or 2 in that direction and examines the earthen tunnel.
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Looks perfectly safe. I know these things. I am a dwarf afterall.
Braggi negates with the hands when offered about the items. He's not wearing that cloak!
Listening carefully about the demoness matter, he thinks this is probably too big for him. He nods when they decide for the western choice, ready to fight tangible, defeatable evil instead of the ominous threat that they're unveiling.
Hey, if you know it is safe, you've got my vote.
She follows the group, although she does keep her own eyes open as well.
Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18 (+2 more for traps)
The western passage is rough, wide enough for a single person to proceed standing upright. The walls and floor appear as if burrowed from the earth with sharp claws and jagged clumps. The walls seem to close in, making the narrow tunnel seem even narrower, though in most spots the tiniest of gaps allows shoulders to pass unmolested. Bits of earth fall from the ceiling and walls as you pass by them, following the strange furrow like passage of the aforementioned elementals, the track oddly smoothed at the middle, each side rising softly into runnel mounds of loose earth and stone. The place stinks of death, rot, and residual mold spore, but is otherwise harmless.
If no one objects, Braggi takes the lead, trying to absorb any possible threat that appears. "Just give me some light, will you?"
Musami falls in behind Braggi, casting his eyes back and forth as the group advance down the passage.
Filnefillan falls in behind Musami after casting Light on his bow, holding it at the ready though he's unsure of what use it will be in the tight and twisting passage.
The narrow fissure seems to travel to and fro at meandering angles, up and down slopes of varying grades with no real rhyme or reason. It extends nearly two hundred or so feet, the path of the elementals lessening at a series of small natural shelves oddly spaced along the length, the last projection nearly sixty feet behind you. Ahead you see a small cave expand outwards, eerily lit by a pair of small stone eyes, their flickering flames purple and green respectively.
The cave seems cut at strange angles, creating disturbing shadows and weird, seemingly impossible bends and curves which shift depending on where you perceive them. The bulk of the surrounding stone is a cloudy purple color.
Rising from floor to ceiling in the far middle of the space is a tall, four-sided column, naturally grown but extensively carved so that each side sports a different graven image. Before the column, between it and you, is an altar made of a dull, porous, and slightly corroded black rock. Sitting atop the altar is a 1-foot-high platform of black stone, speckled and streaked with violet, clear of any dirt, dust, or mold.
The room is deeply cold, a soul-numbing chill that grips one’s very heart, as well as one’s sanity. It is a fact, rather than a mere judgment, that this is an evil place.
Zokama keeps her eyes open as they travel, her Ioun torch illuminating the area around her.
Zokama was in the back. Also, can I examine the stone eyes as we pass them?
Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15
When we get there, Zokama moves forward to examine the violet color... is it similar to the violet gems that she is carrying, or different?
Boy do I wish we had some nice clericy protection from evil right now. Or, you know, a "create holy water" spell.
Zokama smiles, wondering if such a spell is even possible.
You know how you hear about people defiling the altars of good deities? Any way to do that to an evil one? Maybe ruin the carvings or uh... say something nice? I have no idea.
This couldn't be where they trapped that evil queen, could it? I wonder if I concentrate if I can tell what is going on here.
She casts detect magic and concentrates, trying to figure out the nature of this place or anything they could do to make it less evil.
Um... knowledge arcana? I'll try that, but if it is something else, just let me know.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28
The small eyes are more simplified examples of the Flaming Eye, a wide pupil and iris, set inside a triangular frame. They bear simple magicks, likely Continual Flame.
The violet stone of the chamber is possibly a rough raw ore which could have been carved, shaped, and polished to become the stones you have collected, but it is not likely this could happen without magical assistance and interference.
As Zokama casts her magic and looks at the altar or column a swirling vortex of raw thought washes over her. Will Save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13. She begins to convulse violently and collapses to the dirt floor.
Tempted by the young-sounding voice, Zokama is torn for half a second, and then remembers where she is as well as her former lesson with the evil objects that they found. She tries to blank her mind completely, and says not a mental word.
In her spasms Zokama moans and sobs, tears flowing freely. She bites at her lips, her tongue, clawing at her face before a thrashing hand brushes against the stone upon the altar. Instantly she stops, still and silent, her eyes open and her senses returning fully under her control.
As Zakoma comes out of her vision, she says
What... what boy?
She describes the dream/vision in detail to her party. (You can read my spoilers.)
Is it a trick, or is there someone we need to help?
Did I take damage from that episode?
Kaaro rushes to Zokama’s side, cradling the doughty woman’s wracked body.
”What is this place? What manner of evil assailed you - was it Zuggtmoy herself? Ciuld the child receive our aid somehow - I am prepared to re-enter whatever space or place you were taken to and wrest the child away...” Kaaro speaks fiercely.
”Though truthfully I am not sure how to enter...”
Braggi hemos Zokama regain her feet. "You ok?" When she describes what she saw, Braggi nods. "Maybe it means that the demon, or demoness, will possess the boy's body. Musami, want there a boy you were looking after who had problems and disappeared for done time?"